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Power Dynamics

Forerunners of Modern Globalisation

Homo sapiens sapiens first evolved as a distinct species at least 120,000 years ago with some recent finds in the Middle East dated as long ago as 200,000 years ago. On that time scale, the Neolithic agrarian revolution, which took place in most parts of world between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago and only reaching some locales such as Australia with European colonisation, is fairly recent. Prior to the agrarian revolution, communities had a much more direct relationship with their natural surroundings, were largely nomadic hunter-gatherers and so intensely involved in precuring food for their extended families that they lacked the technological means for more advanced forms of political organisation that could subdue other populations.

By and large human communities kept their distance limiting population growth and conflicts, but traded tools, artefacts and bounties. The earliest human settlers of Europe were not imperialists intent on dominating other peoples or seeking greater wealth for their rulers, but adventurers seeking greener pastures and often responding to regional climatic and environmental changes. Some anthropologists now consider the first waves of Indoeuropeans who expanded from Anatolia or the Crimean region around 7000 years ago to be the first imperialists, who set out to spread their culture on horseback through their mastery of animal husbandry and ability to generate food surpluses and this sustain larger communities. Pre-Indoeuropeans correctly designate the peoples who had colonised the Indo-european linguistic and cultural area before Indo-European expansion as opposed to later waves of migrants such as the Ural-Altaic who rode in from the east. Recent genetic analysis of established communities across Europe has shown how significant proportion of the modern European genome can be traced to a handful of ice-age retreats. The modern linguistic landscape emerged from an interaction between these pioneer communities and subsequent colonisers, but as Stephen Oppenheimer's research into origins of the British suggests, each new wave typically little more 5% to the existing ethnic mix. When pro-Globalists argue Britain has always been of nation of immigrants, they seem to overlook two critical factors, timescale, environmental sustainability and population density. Very early peoples could expand into new uninhabited regions without need for conflicts over economic resources with rival groups and even where other humans had settled in the vicinity, ample space allowed for some peaceful cohabitation and intermingling among groups with similar levels of technological advancement. Comparisons with the world's remaining pre-agrarian peoples may not prove very instructive as they tend to inhabit extreme environments as are usually surrounded by more technologically advanced communities eager to reassign their habitat to other more productive purposes.

Globalisation is simply imperialism on a planetary level, in which old nation states have become little more than regional councils implementing policies dictated by unaccountable supranational bodies. Imperialism means the subjugation of other communities to expand the military and commercial influence of a given ruling class. Historically speaking all nation states, which today form culturally distinct entities, grew out of generations of empire building.

Western European Timelines:
Years ago
20,000 to 11,500 Early Mesolithic with only a few communities in ice age retreats.
11,500 to 7,000 Post-glacial expansion to central and northern European mainly following coastal and river routes.
7,000 to 2000 Gradual expansion of agrarian civilisations and early empires.
2000 to 500 Imperial expansion, nation building, wars, spread of Christianity and Islam and introduction of the feudal system and mercantile networks.
500 to 250 European colonisation of the Americas with outposts in the Africa, Asia and Australasia
250 to 50 Industrial revolution and expansion of great European and North American empires. Consolidation of competing nation states with advanced social welfare structures.
50 to 20 Accelerated globalisation with domination of a US-centred business empire, supported by a huge military-industrial complex and limited national sovereignty, but kept in check by rival regional power centres and national welfare states.
20 to near future Rapid of growth of rival power blocks within the global system and huge expansion of consumption in the world's most populous countries, accelerated pace of migration, disappearance of national sovereignty, increased political instability, early signs of resource depletion.

In the beginning we had small communities around a limited number of extended families. It wasn't until the agrarian revolution that we could produce enough surplus food to enable the development of urban settlements and advanced political organisations. Some such civilisations may have existed as long as 15,000 years ago as evidenced by the archeological finds in South East Asian Malay archipelago, which during the last ice age formed a continuous landmass from modern Java to Cambodia, known as Sundaland. Archeologist Francis Pryor estimates Britain's neolithic population as little more than 100,000 in 4000 BC and Ireland's at around 40,000. In Roman times it barely rose to a staggering 3.5 million, out of an estimated 56 million in the whole Roman Empire, only to decline again to around 1.5 millions in the aftermath the pan-European Justinian Plague between 540 and 750 AD. For 700 years Britain's population fluctuated between around 2 and 8 million before the industrial revolution enabled a huge demographic boom and the excess population could easily emigrate to new colonies.

As recently as 1850 much of Africa's hinterland remained unchartered by European explorers, while to your European the world revolved around their region and nation state with merely tales of remote promised lands. To many French, German and Italian farmers English seemed about as relevant to their every day lives as Latin or Chinese. While the educated classes may have been aware of emerging empires abroad, most ordinary Europeans were only aware of foreign culture through tales from relatives who might have migrated. Indeed the great European exodus did not really get into full swing until the end of the 19th century. In 1850, shortly after the Mexican-American war with the acquisition of California and Texas, the US had just 23 million inhabitants. By 1900 this had soared to 76 million nearly doubling to 136 million in 1940 as Europe plunged into its second episode of mass slaughter of the last century, and most of the rise can be attributed to immigration. Now the US population stands at 320 million. The country may be large, but has ceased to be self-sufficient in non-renewable energy and a net exporter of food (see The Next Crisis Will Be Over Food). Worse still like the UK, the US outsources much of its heavy industry, so much pollution is generated elsewhere to satisfy consumer demand in the US.

My thesis is simple. Nation-state imperialism with rival French, Spanish and British empires has morphed into multipolar globalisation, where US and European multinationals collaborate with Japanese, Chinese, Brazilian or Russian corporations. While the system thrives on consumption generated in Europe and North America, growing demand in India and China means as per capita resources become scarcer capitalists are likely to switch from the current hyper-consumption model, where indulgence is practically subsidised to boost the retail sector, to a more traditional survival of the fittest.

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Power Dynamics

New Labour’s 1997 Manifesto

This is the honest manifesto the Labour Party did not publish in 1997 before its historic landslide win, well it did gain 43% of the popular vote with a 75% turnout.

Education:
  • We will introduce tuition fees, initially at £1000 per annum, then rising to £3000 per annum, and allow students to repay their loans over extended period of time at competitive interest rates.
  • We will make exams easier to boost pass rates and thus expand the further education market in collaboration with our corporate friends.
  • We will increase class sizes to accommodate more newcomers.
Family:
  • We will introduce working family tax credits and expand a range of special benefits to encourage couples to separate.
  • We will continue the demonisation of fathers, while encouraging loutish behaviour via our entertainment policies..
Economy:
  • We will promote the outsourcing of manufacturing and the expansion of non-productive media, entertainment and banking.
  • We will drive consumer growth by letting banks offer loans to benefits claimants and then bail them out when it all goes pear-shaped.
Entertainment:
  • We will deregulate gambling and promote violent video games as eco-friendly works of art.
Health:
  • We will double spending on lifestyle drugs, large IT projects and management consultants.
  • We will subsidise IVF so single mothers can have children outside of a loving relationship.
  • We will promote early screening of mental health issues, appropriate medication and employ more special needs learning support assistants. Our target is for approximately 10 - 20% of all kids to be labelled special.
Taxation:
  • We will offer billionaire gangsters complete tax exemption.
Housing:
  • We will encourage immigration, leading to higher property prices and rents, and offer landlords special housing benefits.
Race Relations:
  • All opponents of our policies will be demonised as racists, while radical Muslims will be tarnished as terrorists.
Environment:
    We will encourage immigration, emigration, long-distance commuting and consumption to boost our economy, while lecturing the population on climate change.
    Foreign Policy
      We will join the United States in military interventions in the Balkans, Central Western Asia and the Middle East in order to secure control of fossil fuels and minerals and to prevent China from denying our multinationals easy access to resources essential to our way of life.
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    All in the Mind Power Dynamics

    Ubiquitous Assault on the Senses

    How will future generations view early 21st century Britain? An age of enlightenment that allowed more women than ever to work, redefined loud arguments as domestic violence, exposed childhood sexual abuse and extended the benefits of prosperity to more people than ever. This is the spin of the neo-liberal media, i.e. you've never had it so good or experienced such a wonderfully fair and harmonious society. Surely you don't want to return to the dark ages when parents routinely spanked their children at the slightest hint of disobedience and women were chained to the proverbial kitchen sink? In affluent communities violence has been confined mainly to virtual reality, blasted through speakers in the form of death metal and rap, projected onto mega-screens and translated into a captivating and highly addictive games. We are not just separated from the harsh realities of nature as our forebears knew it, but shielded from the consequences of violent ideation, now a dominant form of entertainment. This genre of entertainment may be likened to less technologically advanced spectacles such as gladiatorial fights in ancient Rome, or more recently boxing, wrestling or fencing, but over the last 20 years we have witnessed the gradual encroachment of war themes into our leisure life It's no longer just war movies, thrillers and video nasties occupying little more than one or two hours a week, but over 80% of the most addictive video games, paintball, Laser Quest and steady repetitive raucous beats and metallic dins accompanying electronic sound marketed as music and played in locales as diverse as sports centres, shopping malls and even offices. Indeed some young people find it hard to concentrate without a continuous blur of discordant noise at work. So paradoxically one may not shout at one's spouse for fear of being charged with domestic abuse, but one may play gangster rap at full volume while washing the car. If one dares suggest first-person shooters trivialise violence, one is soon ridiculed as reactionary and wait for it, against progress. Dare one suggest rap triggers feelings of hatred and intolerance, one is routinely slammed as intolerant of our wonderful cultural diversity.
    So while many of us feel increasingly powerless to change any aspect of our lives, we can only sit back and watch the spectacle of millions immersed in virtual violence in the safety of their bedrooms or offices. Paradoxically many first person shooter fans would be utterly horrified by the slightest hint of real-life gore. Recently an Italian teacher in a farming community arranged for her class to view the slaughtering of a pig. Parents were horrified, how could children learn the truth about meat processing. Sadly many pupils had previously believed meat comes from supermarkets in the same way as petrol just magically gushes from a filling station pump. Did our ancestors dream of heroic battles six to eight hours a day? Did they revel in death and destruction? At stake is the viability of human solidarity for if we dream of exacting revenge against perceived foes in times of economic disparity and limited per capita resources, we are doomed to repeat the worst democidal excesses of our recent history. To what extent is violence an inextricable part of the human condition and to what extent can culture either channel violent urges into socially useful activities or trigger violence in otherwise peaceful individuals?

    I would measure progress, not in terms of material possessions or abstract statistics championed by bureaucrats, but as a broad measure of social harmony, contentment and self-fulfilment, a delicate balancing act focussed on the reduction of conflict and personal suffering, e.g. ambition can drive innovation leading to significant improvements in life, but also cause conflict and selfishness.

    Human beings have a vast array of instinctual behaviours that may be unleashed under certain conditions. Some of our behvaiours require little active thought, either because they are essential to our existence and have been inherited from millions of years of evolution or because inculcated behaviours have become second nature. A healthy baby need not learn to suckle, breathe or even cry in response to basic nutritional needs. By contrast, humans did not evolve to drive cars or type, but many of us perform these tasks with amazing agility. In comparison with most other animals human babies are pretty helpless. Other newborn mammals can walk within minutes of birth. However, many other ingrained behaviours are learned skills building on our intellectual hardware and primitive reflexes, e.g. linguists such as Noam Chomsky believe complex language relies on a specialised brain functions absent in other species, but clearly the exact manifestation of our linguistic abilities depends largely on our environment. Our humanity determines our intellectual potential, while our environment determines how we develop and utilise our intellect. Without applying reason and compassion in the forebrain, a male responding to his innate libido might be inclined to sexually assault any unaccompanied attractive female within easy reach. Were we to let our basest instincts guide our actions, modern civilisation as we know it would never have arisen. The technological progress that helped us expand our food supply, tame nature to meet our needs and lower infant mortality relies on advanced forms of social organisation and co-operation, in which our intellect and sociability prevail over primitive forms of social control.

    Violence has long been a feature of human existence, but its role and pervasiveness have varied enormously over the millennia. Many anthropologists have observed we are the only animal that wages war against other members of our own species, but disagree on whether tribal warfare first emerged in the Neolithic era as stone-age humans began farming and establishing more permanent settlements around fifteen to ten thousand years ago, or whether internecine conflict has always accompanied homo sapiens sapiens throughout the Paleolithic era. We might consider some exceptions, e.g. a lion may fight a rival over control of a pride and then slaughter cubs that are not their own. However, not only are lions some of the most ferocious mammals, but their survival depends largely on brute force and obedience within a tightly knit community and, more important, on hunting other animals. They evolved to be top of the food chain, not to go forth and multiply and thus dominate through numbers. On the African plains, aggressive predators are in a minority, while the vast majority are mere grazers, browsers or warblers. Violence as a survival strategy only works if your species has a low population and can feed on a much larger number of easy prey. It is plainly foolish to apply human ethics to other species. Lions are born to kill and care only for their immediate family. Notions such as compassion and solidarity simply do not enter a Lion's mindset.

    We descend from a line of vegetarian and omnivorous primates, who succeeded in mastering their habitat through dexterity, cunning and social organisation rather than the exertion of physical force, which was largely reserved for travel, work, foraging, hunting of small animals and occasional defence against predators. Around six to seven million years separate us from our closest primate cousins, chimpanzees, but why would violence evolve as an innate human instinct? First we need to define violence a little more accurately. Many primates do not hunt at all preferring to forage as vegetarians should their habitat provide plentiful food, but we are most closely related to chimpanzees who do not only hunt, but have been observed resorting to violence as a means of conflict resolution and imposing their power on more submissive females. By contrast Bonobos, close cousins of chimpanzees, use playful erotica to diffuse social tensions. Obviously any carnivorous animal exerts physical force to catch and kill other animals. Few animals practice cannibalism except as a last resort in after a natural calamity. However, we do not relate to other animals in the same way as we relate to members of the same species. To a carnivore, other animals are food, not sentient beings. At this point it might be useful to distinguish intra-species violence from inter-species violence. Some would take an absolutist stance against murder of all sentient beings and thus promote vegan pacifism, arguing that human technology allows us to be at one with nature. However, most Vegans in wealthy countries relies on a huge human infrastructure that has completely reshaped our planet and effectively ethnically cleansed whole species from their natural habitats or confining them to wildlife reserves. To enable the apparently peaceful existence of a middle class Western European family with their 4 bedroom house, two cars, household appliances, endless gadgets, holidays abroad and weekly supermarket shopping sprees, we need to inflict violence on a huge scale against the planet's delicate eco-system, something many of us would rather deny. So we might not witness real warfare firsthand, but it is committed in our name so we can drive our cars and fill our refrigerators without much thought as to how that delicious frozen salmon ends up in our freezer. This warfare may not always be waged against non-collaborative communities, but simply displaces traditional human communities and other species in the name of progress.

    In many ways we are slowly emerging from an age of apparent harmony, in which people from different socio-ethnic backgrounds learned to live and work together. Certainly throughout history different ethnic groups have intermingled, but also fought bloody battles. Most of us have enough trouble trying to care for our immediate kith and kin. We can easily relate to our immediate geographic community and if this is cohesive enough, we might help disadvantaged neighbours. Charity really does begin at home. All of a sudden we have been asked to care not just for other members of our ethnic community, i.e. a group of people with a common language, mores and cultural identity, but all 6.7 billion estimated to grace our planet in 2010. As this is clearly impossible, we just pretend to care and look after ourselves, but often seek revenge against rivals by playing victims to justify our selfish actions. In reality while many of us pretend to care about the wider human race and some of us have been known to help strangers in distress, unless we are very rich and/or resourceful, we can only practically look after number one and our immediate family and friends. More important a socially competitive and high-consumption society pressures people to acquire more material posessions for themselves, either through hard work or financial manipulation. As a result millions are so busy struggling to make ends meet in a never-ending rat race, they have little time for others. Philanthropy has become a luxury afforded to the fortunate professional classes with time on their hands, while often members of idle classes prefer to indulge in media therapy (watching TV, chatting on Facebook etc.) rather than help others in their community. And even when people do help others, deep-seated cultural prejudices condition how this is targeted. The idea that billions of atomised human beings immersed in variations of the same global culture will learn to love each other is clearly a myth.

    Postscript

    While the Web is deluged with gamers' rants against any attempt to limit their freedom to indulge and many journalists in mainstream newspapers make a living out of promoting virtual violence as a legitimate genre of entertainment, my thoughts are not entirely unique. An Yugoslav Australian, Dejan, reached similar conclusions:

    Are we becoming a violence obsessed society? I think we are.

    Is it the excitement or the adrenaline rush? Maybe its a product of the life pressures we face today or even a mixture of the aforementioned? Something surely is driving us towards this culture where violence is being glorified and aggressiveness respected. It seems that way. The political sphere, the media and entertainment industries promote this aggressive culture that cant be leading the world towards a prosperous future, quite the contrary. Read full article at http://socyberty.com/society/the-obsession-with-violence

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    Power Dynamics

    Corporate Mercenaries

    The LM Gang are back, this time advocating, in a new C4 documentary Britain's Trillion pound Horror Story, the privatisation of healthcare and education and downsizing of the rest of the public sector to reduce taxes, the national debt and stimulate economic growth.

    Back in 1998 a post-modern intellectual associated with the former Revolutionary Communist Party, which later became Living Marxism and then just the LM Group and more recently Spiked Online, produced a documentary for Britain's Channel 4, Against Nature, railing against misanthropic greens. They have taken some radical and provocatory stances aimed mainly at the thinking left, those of us who are not completely brainwashed by corporate conditioning and actually want to see a more caring, sharing and, dare I say, sustainable society. Since the fall of the former Soviet Union, they have argued that the socialist cause they once espoused is dead and instead they began a campaign against what they considered reactionary forces opposed to progress. To them progress was redefined as the globalisation of labour and consumer markets, rapid evolution of technology to enable constant material growth and the replacement of previous social structures such as families and close-knit communities with a shared cultural heritage with new structures based around life-style choices and special interests. The clique around Frank Füredi, a professor of sociology at the University of Kent and author of Reviews of Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?, have morphed from extreme proponents of a worldwide Bolshevik revolution in the dying days of the modern era, to extreme advocates of postmodern neoliberal globalisation. Back in the 1970s and 80s, most on the left opposed immigration controls and welcomed multiculturalism because of a basic sense of humanitarian solidarity with the downtrodden, the perceived victims of imperialism and irrational ethnic prejudice. That was my gut instinct until the early years of the new millennium.

    Yet as I try to explain in another post, modern globalisation owes its roots in 18th and 19th century European colonisation and the expansion of the United States as a world power. The left also championed women's rights, another very noble cause, which has arguably been perverted to disempower families, as wel as gay rights, which while removing stigma against natural feelings of erotic attraction towards the members of the same gender, served similar purposes in weakening traditional family units and empowering big business and the state. Thus for many years the disciples of Frank Furedi could pose on the left. When other sections of the left opposed nuclear power and later genetically modified food, the descendants of the British RCP, championed these technologies as a means of feeding the poor.

    As noted elsewhere, former RCPers have become very media-savvy, but we'd be very naive if we thought they had somehow successfully inflitrated corporate media organisations in order to promote a revolution that would see the overthrow of the today's ruling elites. Rather they serve as fifth-columnists embedded in media and organisations appealing to the wishful-thinking left on behalf of a corporate elite who owe no allegiance to the ordinary people of any country.

    Smart propagandists like to build on concerns about a very real problem and then differentiate themselves from other more mainstream opinion leaders to appeal to a disgruntled section of the gullible electorate. If we sum the government debt accumulated thus far and the total commitments for debt repayments, planned public expenditure, the UK public debt is forecast to reach a staggering 4.8 trillion pounds, which as the documentary pointed out could not be repaid if every house in the country were sold at current market rates. This is obviously unsustainable, indeed so obvious that even advocates of unlimited growth admit it. The documentary rightly sheds light on the huge bureaucracy within the UK's public services. Of 9 million public sector workers, only 2 million are engaged in frontline jobs as teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers etc... Instead most sit in offices administering and monitoring others. Many dependent services become self-serving as they only exist to service the administration of the public sector. For instance, an equal opportunities commission does not provide the underprivileged with new opportunities, but merely liaises with other employers and service providers to ensure their client groups are well represented. However, as they're in the communication business, they inevitably require IT, multimedia, printing, catering and transport services and their infrastructure relies on hardware technicians, builders, plumbers, joiners, mechanics and electricians. However, this huge waste of resources is not confined to te public sector. We not only have a huge rise in the third sector of NGOs, charities and not-for-profit foundations promoting this or that agenda, but large corporations, even those with an industrial base, have morphed into miniature states. For all the talk of lean manufacturing and streamlined organisation, most large private sector companies are chock-a-block with non-productive penpushers and people-managers. hile the public sector is undoubtedly inefficient, it is at least in theory accountable to taxpayers. The documentary completely missed the point, why would the government and its corporate masters subsidise non-productive people management on such a large scale? The previous NewLabour government, which ran up the largest deficit in the UK's history, can hardly be accused of not acquiescing to the needs of large transnational corporations. More important before the government began its huge spending splurge following its 2001 re-election, banks had begun lending irresponsibly to millions without stable employment or even on benefits. The UK doesn't just have a public debt, but also a huge private debt to the tune of £1.4 trillion. Most owners of typical 3 or 4 bedroom houses do not really own their homes outright, their bank or building society does. They are in most cases 6 months to a year away from eviction should they fail to honour monthly mortgage repayments. Worst still as property prices skyrocketed in the South East of England, hundreds of thousands took out interest-only mortgages, i.e. for an initial period, usually 1 to 2 years, they pay only interest on their mortgage, but after this period of grace, their monthly repayments go through the roof. Many believed in a era of unprecedented finnacial growth that 2 years later they woud double or triple their earnings and once they were on the property ladder living the middle class dream, life would be sweet. In the end the government had to bail out the bankers, so a good deal of the huge £4.8 trillion debt is actually inherited from the private sector. I would suggest that both the state and corporate sectors wanted to stimulate consumer growth. Miraculously, as NewLabour launched Private Finance Initiatives and continued to transfer public services to private contractors, quangos continued to grow.

    Expropriation

    Most transfers of ownership from private to public and the from public back to private hands disempower locals and empower transnational corporations. In its early stages in a favourable resource-rich environment , a market economy can theoretically reward hard work and let entrepreneurs build communities around the provision of useful products and services. This certainly appeared to be the case in 19th century North America and even in prosperous enclaves of Western Europe. However, such a system relied on a working class willing to let their bosses profit from their labour in exchange for job security. As small companies grew larger to take advantage of economies of scale and drive industrial development, the proletariat became a distinct class whose interests clashed with those of their bosses. Before the emergence of capitalism, most workers were mere peasants tilling a small plot of land and handing a large proportion of their produce to their landlord as rent. Much of the British economy came under government ownership in the aftermath of the Second World War as much of the country's industrial infrastructure such the still important railways, coal mining, steelworks, health system could not operate effectively at a profit. The State left the profitable sections of the economy to the private sector. Indeed much had controlled by huge state interventions, not least through massive armaments contracts. Nonetheless after the austere 1940s, the 50s and 60s saw the longest period of economic and social betterment, as measured by rapidly decreasing infant mortality, the reduced incidence of poverty-related diseases (such as rickets) and full employment. Although the tertiary sector continued to grow, Britain still had a manufacturing base. Most cars, lorries and trains were still made in the UK as was most industrial machinery, coal and steel. While more and more women chose to pursue careers, most mothers of young children were happy to work as housewives. In many ways the 50s and 60s were the hey day of the modern nuclear family with its typical 2.3 children. Social services still played a relatively marginal role and Health and Safety inspectors were few and far between, hence despite apparent technological limitations before the advent of microprocessor-enabled information technology, public sector bureaucracy was a lot smaller.
    Proponents of nationalisation or privatisation often use the democracy argument. Thus nationalisation makes an organisation democratically accountable, while privatisation frees an enterprise of the constraints and inefficiencies of state control and places it in the hands of private shareholders. In reality nationalisation merely transfers ownership to the state, which in turn serves the interests of its corporate backers and usually rewards former owners handsomely, while privatisation leads to a temporary injection of capital into the public coffers, but has always transferred ownership to monopolistic capitalists, thus failing to provide any real competition. We could even argue that nationalising loss-making industries did an enormous favour to venture capitalists as they could invest their compensation oversees, allowing other entrepreneurs to acquire the more profitable remnants when the government privatises again.
    The post-war boom would simply not have happened without an advanced welfare state, a healthy and largely contented work force and the survival of strategic energy, transportation and manufacturing industries. Hence even capitalists, claiming to favour a free market, supported nationalisation in the mid 20th century. The Thatcherite revolution practically outsourced most major manufacturing and refocussed on non-productive media and banking, a trend that continued unabated under New Labour. The only segments of Britain's industrial base that remained almost unscathed were the multi-billion pound government-subsidised armaments industry (so-called defence), the pharmaceutical and biotech industries with some niche luxury and entertainment gadget producers. Manufacturing saw a brief comeback in the late 1980s and early 1990s with an influx of American, Japanese and German inward investors. However, by the early twenty-noughties factories resumed closing, replaced only by supermarkets, call centres, entertainment complexes. In 2006 Tessa Jowell promoted regional casinos as a means of job creation and urban renewal in Britain's depressed former industrial heartlands.
    In 1997 I suggested to an acquaintance who worked as an advisor for the Labour Party that he'd better save up for his daughter's university education. "Nonsense", he said, "New Labour would always ensure higher education remain accessible to all". A few months later, New Labour announced the introduction of tuition fees, initially just £1000 a year, soon rising to £3000 and now, under the Con-Dem government to £9000. As a result millions of young workers will either have to accept low-paid jobs to escape repaying their loans, thus defeating the purpose of higher education, or forever be in debt. However, the true cost of higher education actually exceeds £9000 a year, but that misses the point, the whole sector is slowly but surely being primed for privatisation, relying on wealthy foreign students and failing to train the country's future generation of engineers, doctors and scientific researchers, while the relative academic value of degrees has been significantly debased. In the 1970s only 15% of school leavers went to uni, by 2010 that number is nearly 50%. Despite the Blairite mantra of education, education, education!!, class sizes have grown and student behaviour worsened leading hundreds of thousands of middle class parents, including Labour cabinet ministers, to send their offspring to private schools. When they consider the costs of a UK university degree, they might as well use their academic loan to send their offspring abroad. I suspect Indian universities will soon start offering cut-price degrees to the same disgruntled moneyed middle classes who travelled to Eastern Europe for cosmetic surgery.
    The previous government pumped billions into the national health service, insisting all new hospitals be built via PFI (Private Finance Initiatives). Despite the rhetoric the NHS bureaucracy has mushroomed with billions squandered on management consultants (not doctors) and centralised IT projects, as detailed brilliantly by David Craig in his 2008 book Squandered. More disturbingly, vast sums of public money have been spent not on essential frontline healthcare, but on promoting awareness of new mental illnesses and lifestyle-related ailments ( diabetes, obesity, angina, high blood pressure etc..) hugely boosting demand for pharmaceutical products. Amazingly, the new Con-Dem government, depsite a massive debt, has committed itself to maintaining the previous administration's spending plans. In real terms public health spending has doubled since 1997, yet the nation's health patently hasn't as any gains in prosperity have been offset by culture of hedonism and a growing rich-poor gap. Any recent gains in life expectancy have more to do with improvements that occurred 30-40 years ago (i.e. your life expectancy is largely determined by your health in your 30s and 40s) than multi-million pound anti-smoking campaigns. The US probably has the world's most wasteful healthcare system with 16% of GDP devoted to public and private healthcare. This compares with 10 to 11% in France, Canada and Germany and 8.9% in Italy, 8.7% in Australia, 8.4% in the UK and just 8.1% in Japan, while life expectancy is highest in Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Iceland, probably more down to diet and lifestyle than provision of drugs. The US Model is to boost public demand for healthcare services persuading more people that they need long-term medication and cosmetic surgery (not included in the above figures), creating a huge comsumer market. In my humble analysis the UK health system is being primed for privatisation in all but name. It has become such a monster as to be completely unsustainable and the corporate elite will rely on a knee-jerk reaction to reports of waste and inefficiencies to soften public opposition to the removal of universal provision of healtcare free at the point of delivery. Nadeem Waylayat of Market Oracle has detailed the almost inevitability of the failure of the NHS project ( see http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article23744.html ), however, he seems to welcome its downfall. I hasten to add, when the NHS collapses, millions will suffer the consequences.
    Martin Durkin's documentary is just the latest salvo in a war against common sense, i.e. a rational world in which education and healthcare serve the needs of taxpayers rather than those of multinational corporations and are not allowed to become unsustainable. Apparently he has the government on his side as they have now allowed the cloning of animals for human consumption and given the green light to transgenic farming and quiely announced the privatisation of the Royal Mail.
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    Power Dynamics

    Migration Myth Busting

    It looks like the globalist growth lobby has been busy copying and pasting its Migration Myths all over government-sponsored Websites and many run by spurious NGOs. Hint if someone is providing information free of charge in a glossy format, it's probably not very reliable. As always first-hand fact finding goes a long way. I live in a small single room in London, am not entitled to housing benefit as I have a job and my kids do not live with me. I've visited many former council estates around Inner London and my observations on the rapid socio-ethnic transformation should surprise no-one with their feet firmly on the ground

    Government Migration Myths exposed

    Original source: Fear of Migrants: a Myth

    Myth: Official reports are objective.
    Fact: Government-commissioned reports select skewed statistics to suit their agenda.
    Myth: Objective population realists suggested 98% of all new jobs go to immigrants.
    Fact: As stated above, around 50% of new jobs in the UK as a whole go to immigrants. In London that percentage is bound to be significantly higher, but in the UK as a whole recent immigrants still account for fewer than 20% of the population. More important, many natives have lost their jobs and are simply not re-employed.
    Myth: Immigration does not boost unemployment within the indigenous population.
    Fact: Only as long as continuous economic growth can keep producing new jobs. (See next item).
    Myth: Economic and population growth are good
    Fact: We live on a finite planet with finite resources. The UK is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Indeed England alone is now more densely populated than the Netherlands. To sustain London's population, we need on area of land larger than the UK. The UK imports 40% of its food, most of its manufactured goods, is now a net importer of fossil fuels and exports pollution created by domestic consumption.
    Myth: Unsustainable migration has not caused a housing crisis in London.
    Fact: Most indigenous workers in London commute from the home counties or beyond and have been effectively priced out of London. For someone on the min wage, an average rent of £150 - £200 per week is simply not affordable. People can only afford to stay in London in acceptable accommodation on low wages if they receive housing benefit, i.e. if they are subsidised by other tax payers...
    Myth: Population realists are racists:
    Fact: Any peaceloving human being abhors racism, but the consequence of more unsustainable growth will be internecine warfare... The country is hugely indebted and entirely dependent on services nobody really needs.
    Myth: There is a skills shortage...
    Fact: Only a small minority of newcomers can offer engineering, IT and medical skills. Most offer the kind of skills that use to be very common in the UK before the demise of manufacturing and the rise of a benefits culture. Anyone can serve lattes.... provided they have sufficient food and shelter. Maybe newcomers can fake smiles better... There are 8 million Britons of working age not in employment or education. An estimated 5-6 million of these are perfectly capable of working, if motivated and trained, and coming off incapacity benefit.
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    Power Dynamics

    You’re just a customer!!

    Many of us have been so beguiled by corporate speak encroaching on everyday conversations that we have failed to notice how previous categories of people such as travellers, passengers, users, taxpayers, citizens or just plain people have morphed into customers, worthy only because of our purchasing power. Yet just 10 or 15 years ago, the word customer would have sounded creepily corporate in many everyday circumstances. Thus council taxpayers are no longer simply citizens paying their due, we have become customers. Likewise passengers on public transit systems are no longer human beings, but only valued as revenue-yielding customers or subjects.

    Instead of saying "Please let other passengers off the train before boarding", staff are trained to announce "Please let customers disembark from the train before boarding". However, passengers and customers are not the same. At least in theory most passengers these days are technically fare-paying customers, but the term's meaning has now been extended to include anyone with whom a service provider has to deal, i.e. the client in the client-server system, a mere consumer of services whether or not the former has any choice over the matter or any commercial transaction is involed. When I recently had my passort renewed, I was not referred to as a citizen or as a British subject, but as a, wait for it, customer. Housing associations and loal authortities refer to recipients of housing benefits as customers because they receive a service. Even former convicts on probation are customers. A few years ago mental health service users were known as clients, but have since become customers. The term has become devalued to such an extent, we might as well just say subjects.

    The term customer defines a business relationship. If I buy a laptop from a computer retailer, I am indeed a customer. They rely on my payment to stay afloat financially, purchase goods from manufacturers, pay bills and staff. What's more if I am not satisfied with the product sold or the retailers' service, I can take my custom elsewhere. The notion of a customer makes sense in a free market when you have choice. However, if I use a computer in a public library, I am not a customer of the computer supplier, the library is and if I pay taxes and participate in the administration of the local council, I might in a very indirect way be a customer, but in reality powerless to affect the purchasing decisions of large organisations who can usually only source hardware from a select set of preferred suppliers. As a citizen I might use my vote to support a party wishing to expand the provision of computing facilities in local libraries and I might campaign to urge the council to switch to a more cost-effective supplier or adopt open-source software to save money, but if I called their supplier as a private citizen I would not be treated as a customer, but as a disgruntled powerless member of the public. Their only concern would be public relations.

    Likewise if I need to travel within Central London, I have a limited set of practical choices. Forget cars, as the average speed of vehicular traffic is down to around 10 mph and even then you would need to contend with congestion charges and parking fees. Buses are often slow, unreliable and overcrowded. The best choices for rapid transit are bicycle, if you're fit and have somewhere safe to lock it up at your destination, moped, usually a larger investment with parking restrictions in a busy city, or tube. Neither bicycle nor moped are ideal if it's raining or you need to carry luggage or any other bulky objects such as a laptop. So when you travel from say Kings Cross to White City, and have a choice of braving chaotic pedestrian and vehicular traffic, sweating in a bus for over an hour or taking 15 minute tube journey, the tube is the only viable choice. You cannot take your custom elsewhere as alternatives simply do not offer a comparable service. London's rapid transit network would never have seen the light of day without significant public sector investment, and while it may have been semi-privatised, it operates as a monopoly and relies on huge subsidies. Your fares simply subsidise the service and restrict access to those prepared to pay or entitled to special passes. You are just a fee-paying passenger expected to endure chronic overcrowding in peak hours.

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    The Keynsian Dream is Over

    None of the major parties in the UK have had the courage to tell the electorate the unpalatable truth. They act as mere middle managers or public relations officers, somewhere between their masters in global banking, energy cartels and military-industrial establishment and the hundreds of thousands of minion bureaucrats in the UK`s non-productive public and private sector institutions. It takes relatively little research to expose their presumed facts and figures. Indeed what should surprise us is not their apparent disagreements on issues such as Britain`s adoption of the Euro or immigration controls, but their agreement on the continued need for economic growth by injecting more virtual cash into an economy that has long ceased to produce more than a small fraction of what it consumes.

    Over the last 13 years Britain has experienced its biggest collective spending spree in history. We may look back nostalgically at the monuments and urban infrastructure of Victorian Britain, erected over a period of some 70 years when the country`s industry not only led the world, but could exploit the resources of a huge empire. Yet the UK`s national debt didn`t really figure until the great depression of the late 1920s. In the aftermath of the seconds world war, the US had amassed such a large surplus it could easily bail out much of Western Europe to fuel growth and give rise to a new age of mass consumerism. It may seem ironic, but without huge government intervention through fiscal stimulus packages, direct subsidies, nationalisation and social welfare, mass consumerism would never have spread beyond the affluent upper middle classes.

    Unlike previous splurges, Britain has gained little in lasting infrastructure. We have literally squandered 1.3 trillion of the country`s personal debt on holidays in the sun, property trading and 60" plasma TV screens. Most recent extensions to the country`s rail and rapid transit network were planned back in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, yet owing demographic growth in the Southeast of England and increased commuting as people are forced to buy houses further and further away from their place of work, road and rail networks are bursting at their seams. To accommodate a rising population and smaller households, property developers have littered the countryside with suburban sprawl composed of compact houses designed to last 30-40 years requiring more roads, plumbing and wiring. Superficially, much of the country still has vast expanses of greenbelt, farmland and pastures. In reality it relies on natural resources from abroad to temporarily support current levels of aggregate consumption. Everything from vegetables to bottled water, electronic gadgets to coal, timber to steel, plastic utensils to fridges or cars to ships are imported to the birthplace of industrial revolution, in effect exporting pollution. Arm-chair human rights activists may bemoan the working conditions and exploitation of the Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese or Eastern European labourers who actually produce the goods we consume, but would they get out of bed for less than £5 an hour, let alone the derisory pay packets of the millions of virtual slaves who enable us to party like there were no tomorrow? Left-leaning Guardian-readers tend to live in a bubble, in which their non-productive service-sector earnings are exchanged for real goods labelled fair-trade, organic or environmentally-friendly and inspected by wishful-thinking corporate compliance officers.

    The same government that bleats incessantly about climate change promotes economic growth and the globalisation of production. They may talk about investing in public transport, but rely on advertising revenue from automotive multinationals. The Blair years will be remembered as the final act of a 60 year experiment in mass consumerism, the age of 60†Plasma TV screens, people carriers and 4x4 off-road vehicles in suburbia, cheap Ryanair flights ferrying young Brits to stag or hen nights in Eastern Europe as well as for the commercialisation of the Internet and a national obsession with re-enactments of warfare and gangster violence. An age when absurd thought-suppressing political correctness coexists with disrespect for the uncool and widespread moral depravity, drunken binges and deregulated gambling.

    Rather than champion Blair as a great democrat or human rights activist, future historians will view his fervent support for US/NATO military intervention in the context of depleting fossil fuel resources. Whether the recent consumption binge will trigger catastrophic climate change or not, sooner or later we will be confronted with the harsh reality of limits of growth on a finite planet and will need to readapt to a more humble localised existence. New Labour left future generations with a cultural vacuum, unsustainable material expectations, a huge debt and a woeful shortage of practical hands-on skills.

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    Multiculturalism would be a good idea

    To paraphrase Gandhi "Multiculturalism would be a good idea".

    Cultural diversity is a wonderful idea and as a speaker of 5 languages with bilingual kids, as someone who's been the sole white guy in a provincial Zambian town, the sole non-Indian in a suburban Delhi apartment block, steered clear of gringos during a trek across Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina and spoke Italian habitually for over 8 years in Italy, I might understand real multiculturalism better than most.

    But I'm equally aware many would disagree. They hate cultural diversity, are instinctively intolerant of backward peoples who wish to retain their time-honoured customs, vernaculars, religions, worldviews and mores. Why do the French still insist on speaking French or the Brits still talk in feet and inches, don't they know we've all gone decimal now?. Many in the chattering classes who bleat about diversity and equality (ever heard of diversity training for the police?) are often the same people who'd like to ban smacking in the home and intervene abroad to change sexual customs. For them ethnic diversity means choosing between an Indian and Italian restaurant or between Reggae and Salsa music.

    They think we should all boogey to the same international beat, shop at the same Walmart or Tescos, buy the same DVD movies, video games, watch the same set of TV programmes, attend the same business management courses, adapt to the same form of groupthink conformism and even use the same operating system with the same Office package or go on the same package tour holidays, drive the same cars, in short aspire to the same lifestyle. Parents who don't embrace mass-marketed Anglo-American world culture in favour of alternative or more traditional values are often blamed if their kids are bullied at school.

    The globalist agenda is antithetical to the very notion of cultural diversity. By multiculturalism they do not mean a patchwork of diverse cultural groups living harmoniously side by side, but a new world order in which a global supranationalism supplants all other mini-nationalisms. The new mores hardly represent a potpourri of Bangladeshi, Kenyan, Chinese and Bolivian culture with an admixture of French and Russian, they reflect a new culture promoted a planet-wide leviathan steamrollering traditional values everywhere.

    Yeah, why not immerse yourself in US junk culture at Disneyland Paris? Why not give Iraqi police officers sexual diversity training? Why not teach Iranians the wonders of business-friendly liberal democracy?

    As the Joe Strummer of the late 1970s punk group, The Clash, sang, in one of his more thoughtful phases, "I'll salute the New Wave and I hope nobody escapes

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    Power Dynamics War Crimes

    Free Speech and Hate Speech

    False and ridiculous charges are no real problem. It is the unconscionable critics who reveal unwanted truths from whom society must be protected" Noam Chomsky in Deterring Democracy

    A False Sense of Self-Righteousness

    Intellectuals in the public eye remind us how we should thank our lucky stars for our democratic system with freedom of speech and press. Not only should we cherish this relative freedom, but we should ensure our high standards are met elsewhere through economic or military intervention.

    All things considered our model of democracy is largely a farce reduced to occasional opinion polls and popularity contests, while our wonderfully free media is in the hands of a corporate and state bureaucracy. Without advertising revenues or state subsidies, independent outlets do not stand a chance. Nonetheless some journalists committed to the truth and genuine debate have allowed some dissident views to surface through excellent documentaries, reporting and live discussions. When the My Lai massacre appeared on American TV screens, the Vietnam War soon turned into a public relations disaster. This did not stop General Wesley Clark from defending the US Army's record or from directing air strikes over the Balkans 30 years later. However, most off-message views have been neatly confined within a range of legitimate dissent.

    Increasingly news reports appeal to the wishful thinking professional classes and armchair activists, horrified by alleged abuses of human rights attributable to inhumane foreign leaders or lower class louts.

    Three main objections are raised against free speech:

    1. False or embarrassing allegations may slander otherwise defenceless individuals and stir irrational public contempt.
    2. Some views, especially when expressed in overt language, may offend certain sections of the community.
    3. Some views may challenge the ideological supremacy of the ruling class and incite rebellion.

    The first objection may seem tenable at first as the recipients of any media hate campaign know all too well. We might wonder how the press, controlled by corporate interests, chooses which celebs, politicians or foreign leaders to demonise. However, we need not limit freedom of speech to protect defenceless individuals against unjust attacks, merely allow the right of reply and fairer libel laws accessible to all irrespective of financial means, so that newspapers would be forced to compensate the victims of deliberate misinformation. In a civilised society media outlets would stick to the facts that concern us. If we had a diverse media interested in genuine problems affecting millions of ordinary people, we would not be obsessed with the private lives of public figures, but rather debate how the actions of the powerful affect us.

    The second objection is very much in vogue and usually applies to remarks or views deemed racist, otherwise xenophobic, sexist or somehow prejudicial to the interests of a given group. To some the current obsession with political correctness may seem a sign of progress. Personally I have never liked remarks and opinions disrespectful of members of other ethnic groups, especially deprived immigrant communities. But a closer look at the facts reveals a different picture as the gap between rich and poor has demonstrably never been greater. Indeed political correctness masks the real intents of politicians, while the focus of media attention is on the choice of words rather than on the repercussions of policies. Moreover, who decides what is racist, xenophobic, sexist or, to use a newly coined term, homophobic? For instance a British anti-nuclear protester was recently charged with incitement to racial hatred for dragging a US flag on the ground during a demonstration against the deployment of the multi-billion dollar Star Wars project (as originally reported in the Independent).

    Foreign Office spokespeople dress their briefings up in diplomatic Newspeak. Someone who plants a bomb outside a gay pub killing two people is a dangerous mentally deranged neo-Nazi admirer of both Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin, while the UK government's feeble excuses for violence on a much greater scale over the Balkans and Iraq may only be criticised tactically and former UK support for Iraq is a mere strategic mistake. Yet were we to adopt the lynch mob tactics of the press, we'd brand Tony Blair a rabid racist and send him to the European Court of Human Rights. As Mr Blair's rhetoric is strongly against nominal racism and new concepts such as ethnic cleansing (formerly known as colonisation and mass deportation), we have internalised the notion that New Labour seeks to uphold the human rights of all. The very same government approved export credits for the sale of arms to Indonesia and Turkey, responsible for human rights abuses on a massive scale, and feels it has the moral authority to smear all opponents of aerial bombardments over Iraq and the Balkans as apologists for totalitarian regimes.

    On a purely rational level openly xenophobic speech need only worry us if it can attract widespread public support. First we may ask why ordinary people are susceptible to xenophobic propaganda, but it seems elementary that those with a wider reach can more easily sway public opinion, e.g. if a man in a pub tells his mate a horror story about a gypsy who mugged his mother, only his mate knows and can judge for himself whether the story is true or representative of Roma as a whole. However, were widespread media outlets to run stories about gypsies mugging women, it could reinforce deep-seated prejudices and incite ethnic hatred. By contrast, were such propaganda targeted at communities who had lived together peacefully and intermarried for generations, the media might face serious opposition. Xenophobia is not based so much on ignorance as on preconceptions. Over the last century British propaganda has evolved from blatant nationalism, to subtle moral superiority. A hundred years ago our rulers colonised 1/4 of the world's land to civilise inferior cultures and empower the empire, we had a God-given right to enslave other peoples in all but name and to destabilise their governments.

    Today the UK intervenes to support the international community's desire to teach a lesson to foreign leaders accused of heinous crimes against humanity and enforce business-friendly democracy. In contrast with the imperial heyday the UK is a faithful lieutenant of a transnational Anglo-American Empire and public relations dictate that imperialist wars be sold on humanitarian grounds.

    In the 1990s the media tried to persuade the public that Serbs are bloodthirsty ethnic cleansers. People's experiences in the British Isles could hardly confirm such prejudices as the British actually sided with Serbia against Albania in WW1. As the Croatian Ustaše collaborated with the Nazis, official British propaganda had at least until 1948 been favourable to the Yugoslav cause. In 1916 the Daily Telegraph reported gas vans were deployed in Kosovo to murder Serbs. Even as the conflict broke out after Tito's death, many eminent voices on the BBC spoke of the benefits of a multiethnic federation. Had only politicians associated with the nationalist right on TV ranted about subhuman Serbs, some liberal commentators might might have accused them of racism. Instead morally superior journalists and so-called human rights campaigners exposed the alleged Nazi tendencies of a regime that had bedevilled large sections of the Serb population. Mainstream media reports portrayed Serbs as aggressors and ethnic cleansers, a term that gained currency in the Yugoslav conflict, while Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Albanian Kosovars were considered victims. The facts paint a very different picture. Good and bad guys were on all sides and the underlying causes of the rekindling of the old ethnic disputes were economic.

    If we were momentarily to accept the genetic determinist explanation for ethnic hatred, we could reach some illogical conclusions. Propaganda over the last century has portrayed the Germans first as expansionist huns, although the British had beaten them to it by 200 hundred years or so, and then as willing executioners in the greatest insanity that has ever beset mankind. But who are the English as opposed to the native Celtic and Pictish peoples of the British Isles? Germans, of course. Who are the upper middle class US citizens entrusted with the envious role of world cop? The core of the US's ruling class stems from recent immigrants from the British Isles and mainland Europe. So surely any hereditary markers for xenophobia in Germans are just as likely to surface in their close cousins across the North Sea and Atlantic. The same nonsense is applied to the bloody civil wars between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi.

    All forms of xenophobia are clearly not equal. Even compared with the worst verifiable accusations held against Serbs, Israel has been guilty of much more heinous atrocities against Palestinians both in the occupied territories and Southern Lebanon. The only two possible excuses presented are Arab terrorism threatening Israel security and the Shoah. After displacing 780,000 Palestinians in 1948 and forcing 1.5 million Palestinians to crowd into the least fertile patches of land, one need not be surprised at Arab retaliation. Israel is in all but name a ruthless Apartheid state complete with homelands and rigorously enforced segregation of undesirable Palestinians. As for the second excuse, the Serbs were also victims both of Ustaše shootings and maltreatment in concentration camps during the Second World War. Unlike the Israelis, the Yugoslavs attempted to form a federation and bury their differences for nearly 40 years. Journalists may fabricate lies about alleged Serb atrocities without being dubbed xenophobes, but dare not speak out against Zionism for fear of being branded anti-Semites.

    The truth is many people regulate their own hatred within the confines of acceptable contempt. Mainstream propaganda encourages us to reserve a healthy dose of hatred for official enemies and demonised groups such as Serb ethnic cleansers, Arab fundamentalists, Hutu extremists, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, homophobes, paedophiles, muggers and nail bombers. Indeed the media often lumps these groups together indiscriminately, e.g. Serbs have been accused of raping Muslim women in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, reinforcing the public perception that Serbs and rapists are of the same ilk. A closer analysis shows that since NATO moved in to Bosnia and Kosovo the sex industry has blossomed supplying NATO personnel and NGO workers with mainly Slavic women.

    In May 2000 a group of German teenagers on a school holiday walked along a Cornwall beach. A group of local teenagers and adults chanted "Nazis, Nazis, We won the War" and started throwing stones. If Nazi means someone who condemns others based on their ethnicity or religion, then we might wonder who the real Nazis were in this case.

    Another topical case is Edinburgh psychology lecturer Chris Brand who published a book, The G Factor, about the relative intelligence of different racial groups, notably concluding that Black Africans have on average scored lower in IQ tests. While Professor Brand's evidence may seem compelling to many willing believers, he fails to empirically link general intelligence with IQ tests and ignores the Flynn effect, showing how the social environment can raise IQ levels by 15 points per generation, the vast divergence of IQ scores among members of the same racial groups and the reappraisal of the genetic significance of aesthetic racial features. Moreover, IQ tests tend to be culturally biased and one can be trained to achieve higher scores. Self-styled anti-racists rallied behind the Anti-Nazi League's call to ban the book. They succeeded as publisher John Wiley withdrew it. However, The g Factor merely articulated in pseudo-scientific terms what millions had long privately suspected. Banning the book not only affords it more credibility, but denies others the opportunity of challenging its arguments one by one. Indeed Chris Brand's thesis differs little from Charles Darwin's musings on the genetic superiority of the white race, so why not ban his epic work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection? Some religious fundamentalists certainly would ban it citing racism as an excuse for the imposition of Biblical creationism, however modern criticisms of Darwinism based on a more Lamarckian symbiotic evolution may counter Darwin's racist assumptions more convincingly.

    So should we ban potentially xenophobic speech? My answer is clearly no, because ethnic prejudice stems not from overt or offensive language, but from generations of subtle propaganda and a sense of cultural and moral superiority.

    Case Study: The Suppression of Historical Revisionism

    One cannot fail to notice the news media's growing obsession with the Nazi holocaust. Atrocities in Nazi concentration camps and organised shootings on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1944 serve to justify new wars against rogue leaders who have fallen out of favour with the United States, while the purported uniqueness of these events affords the state of Israel special treatment and impunity for its crimes against Palestinians deported from Israel to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights.

    Not only were most Germans unaware of the scale of the Shoah, but all the other main powers involved in the Second World War practised and fomented ethnic discrimination in one form or another. At stake are clearly three issues:

    1. Historical exactitude.
    2. Our collective memory of the victims of all horrors of war, exploitation and repression.
    3. The instrumentalisation of past events for which ordinary folk bear no responsibility and the deliberate falsification of the historical record to advance a given geopolitical agenda.

    All three issues cry out for free speech and fearless open debate, without which only powerful media outlets and authoritarians can impose their warped view of history.

    Since the late 1960s, a flurry of movies, documentaries and books have convinced the European and North American public mind that the Nazi holocaust represents not only a monocausal and systematically planned singularity, but an absolute evil against which all other atrocities should be measured. We may talk of a nuclear holocaust, which befits the core meaning of death by fire, but the capitalised Holocaust always signifies the Nazi judaeocide, more aptly called Shoah after the Hebrew word for disaster. The 1917-18 Armenian genocide that erupted out of a fierce civil war as the Ottoman empire collapsed, US napalming of Vietnamese villages, Allied saturation bombing of central European cities etc. do not qualify for this unique term. The enslavement of Africans with countless millions of unnatural deaths is dismissed as the acts of primitive European colonialists, such as the Portuguese (1), rather than a systematic policy of the greatest empire before the advent of US hegemony.

    In NewSpeak historical revisionism means denial, the minimisation of the unparalleled crimes of a past dictator and his willing executioners with the implicit intent of restoring the credibility of Nazism. Of course, if we believe all we read in the mainstream press, such crimes may not be so unparalleled after all. Standard accounts of the 1994 Rwandan bloodbath show the Tutsis as victims and the Hutus as subhuman perpetrators. Likewise no exaggeration seems too great to describe the atrocities attributable to Serbs in the Yugoslav civil war.

    On paper historical revisionism is a method to ascertain historical truth through critical examination of factual evidence. This is standard practice in any scientific inquiry. Only by allowing variant and contradictory theses to stand the test of empirical scrutiny can we begin to separate fact from fiction. Preconceived conclusions should be alien to serious historical research and simply replacing one biased account with its antithesis defeats the purpose, which is to correct partisanship. The recent book "Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor" by Robert B. Stinnett, claiming President Roosevelt had foreknowledge of the events, is revisionist, but should be analysed on its merits. Likewise it may be hard to deny the World Trade Center attacks occurred or many thousands died, but who did it?, who funded and manipulated the suicide bombers, were there secondary explosions in the Twin Towers? Did senior US and Israeli intelligence personnel know about the attacks beforehand? These too are revisionist questions because they challenge orthodoxy.

    The genuine victims of state-perpetrated violence need not fear open debate if we agree that murder, especially systematic murder, is inherently evil. Regrettably historical revisionism is increasingly associated with one issue, the Shoah, but may be applied to the orthodox accounts of any historical event and allow antithetical conclusions.

    Numerous orthodox accounts, i.e. reports popularised by the mainstream media, have frequently been proven wrong or fundamentally flawed under closer examination. Claims made about the war over Kosovo are just some of the most recent examples in a long string of war propaganda. Phillip Knightley's updated and revised "The First Casualty of War" is a must read for anyone interested in the veracity of the mainstream media. Do we really believe the Romans conquered most of Western and Southern Europe as well as much of North Africa and the Middle East without slaughtering hundreds of thousands, and subjugating millions in slavery and serfdom? However, much of modern history about the era has been sanitised by Roman accounts of barbaric Germanic, Celtic and Berber tribes.

    One key factor in the historiography of any event is Cui bono? Should empirical research ever conclusively refute key tenets of the orthodox version of the mid 20th century Jewish genocide, it may be perfectly legitimate to ask who benefits from the inflated accounts of systematic slaying by industrial means attributable to the Nazis, and consequently to the Germans who let them rule? In this hypothesis a quick answer may be Expansionist Zionism, interpreted as unconditional supporters of an all Jewish State in Israel, the Western Allies and the former Soviet Union, because the unique evil of the Nazis overshadows any crimes attributable to the victors of WW2. While Soviet interpretations emphasised Slav victims (e.g. elevated deaths in Auschwitz to 4 million to include 3 million Slavs), the US emerged from WW2 as the world's main economic power, much richer than the Soviet Union ravaged by the wanton slaughter of WW2, and had the task of resuscitating Western European capitalism within its post-war world order. It faced a stark choice between the Morgenthau plan to convert Germany to an agrarian society and the need to build a strong powerhouse economy fully integrated with the rest of Western Europe and North America. After 3 years of partial deinstrialisation between 1945 and 1948 triggering a mass famine with as many as two million deaths, the Marshal plan rebuilt Germany in America's image and, apart from a few show trials and kangaroo courts, its ruling class remained intact. Ironically the US quite happily funded social democratic governments eager to build a prosperous Europe with some degree of social cohesion via the welfare state. The alternative would have been revolution and civil war. What's more many former Nazi collaborators switched overnight to the Americans. As early as 1943 the CIA hired former SS officers such as Reinhold Gehlen with in-depth knowledge of Eastern Europe to form Pol Gehlen, which later became the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) the German sister organisation of the CIA. This explains at least in part why the Shoah did not acquire its current status until the 1967 six-day war at the same time as the US began to rely heavily on Middle East oil reserves as its own began to dry up. However, there might be some more sinister reasons. Would West Germans, whose constitution theoretically protects freedom of expression, have willingly believed claims that unbeknown to them the Nazis had murdered millions in gas chambers? Thousands had worked and many Germans had actually been interned in Nazi concentration camps, but only a select few had testified to mass gas chambers at the Nuremberg trials. In East Germany they had no choice, Stalinism replaced National Socialism overnight and anti-nazism soon became a state religion.

    When German Green Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, attempted in 1999 to persuade his party (who used to oppose NATO and nuclear weapons and favour peaceful solutions to ethnic disputes) of the necessity for air strikes to forestall a genocide, he re-evoked the Shoah in the full knowledge that nobody could dispute any events associated with it or even dare to suggest bombing might make such events more and not less likely. He narrowly won the vote claiming Operation Horseshoe was a masterplan for the final solution of the Albanian problem. A subsequent German report showed the operation was a hoax and no plan existed for the systematic deportation of 90% of Kosovo's population. However, the analogy ends there. The CIA and German BND merely formed a temporary alliance with the KLA. The Albanian mafia may control much of the heroin trade passing through Southeastern Europe, but their influence and strategic importance cannot be compared to that of Israel.

    Let us be in no doubt, those who publicly dispute the scale and systematicity of the Shoah have been subjected to intense vilification and associated with the xenophobic right. Indisputably some on the Judaeophobic right sympathise with and manipulate the findings of revisionist research. However, most serious holocaust revisionists are fierce critics of authoritarianism. While many expose and criticise the disproportionate Jewish influence in the mass media and movie business as well as in international finance and American politics, only a minority believe in an international Jewish conspiracy against Gentiles or Goyim as foretold in the rather outlandish, hateful and largely discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Moreover, the East German Stasi and Israeli Mossad have actually set up and manipulated so-called Neo-Nazi grouplets. Even Combat 18 in the UK, allegedly formed as a breakaway from the BNP, was a front for MI5's special operations. The so-called left tends to ignore two essential questions. Should we rely on state-sanctioned truth?

    Anti-imperialists tend to dismiss revisionist accounts of Nazi war crimes as wild fantasies of neo-fascists, intent on rehabilitating the honour of the short-lived Third Reich. One valid criticism that may be lodged against some holocaust revisionists is a tendency to make far-fetched claims against Stalinism, claiming that the 6 million figure may be an exaggeration in connection with the Nazi-perpetrated Shoah, but Stalin was responsible for as many as 60 million deaths, figures taken straight from 1950's McCarthyite propaganda. While the former Soviet Union can be indicted with atrocities on a massive scale and economic mismanagement certainly led to millions of deaths, the same could be said of India and Pakistan. Coincidentally many former hardline sympathisers of the former USSR minimise the crimes attributed to the NKVD (later KGB) and Bolshevik Party apparatchiks under Stalin's command, denying Stalin bore any responsibility for the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine, and bewail the demonisation campaign against him by the capitalist press and liberal left.

    The British Anti-Nazi League started by fighting the racism of the National Front in the late 1970s, but failed to attack head-on the politicians likely to influence the immigration and social policies that most affect ethnic minorities. The National Front benefited from working class disillusionment in the then Labour government, but never stood any realistic chance of gaining a single seat in Parliament. The NF were basically politically incorrect Tories who appealed to the gut instincts of many workers raised on rule Britannia propaganda. No party that challenged the necessity for British participation in the Second World War could ever win without the thorough re-education of the masses, but could urge a halt to immigration from poor countries and even repatriation. After massive Rock Against Racism concerts and Anti-Nazi League demos in 1978 (being an Anti-Nazi in Britain is like declaring one's opposition to Attila the Hun in Rome), what did we get? The 1979 Tory landslide, record unemployment with the demise of unprofitable inefficient manufacturing, tough talk on immigration, followed only two and half years later by a bout of jingoism over the Argentinian invasion of the British Falkland Islands, all dressed up in anti-fascist rhetoric. But what did the ANL really oppose? Free speech on Nazi historiography, the very notion that National Socialist régime had not landed on Earth from Mars, but was entirely comparable to numerous governmental systems world-wide. The main source of anti-fascist information is inevitably Searchlight run by MI5 collaborator and former CPGB member Gerry Gable, whose anti-Nazi antics include planting former British National Party members in anarchist groups and animal liberation fronts, so the press can later smear them with rightwing extremism. For instance in March 1993 the ANL staged a 300 strong demo against the desecration of graves at the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation's Florence Road Cemetery, although the Jewish Chronicle later reported no tombstones had been daubed with swastikas and no gardener was employed to remove such grafitti. For alternative views about MI5 involvement in both extreme right and self-styled anti-fascist groups, visit Lobster Magazine or Paul Cox's Mere Pseud site with insider info from both sides.

    French anthropologist and Indochina expert Serge Thion, American writer Bradley Smith of the Campaign for Open Debate On the Holocaust hardly conform to our perception of neo-Nazi thugs, but do not buy the orthodox account and expose Holocaust swindlers and false witnesses. Even English historian David Irving, who has long been target of a concerted press smear campaign but airs his strong anti-immigrant views freely on his Web site, has written at length on verifiable Nazi crimes. Indeed the 1977 edition of Apocalypse 1945, The Destruction of Dresden was not only available in public libraries, but on recommended reading lists compiled by my anti-imperialist History teacher, a bit of balance for William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich . Also recommended was AJP Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War, which suggests the rather heretical conclusion that a bellicose elite within the Anglo-American establishment unleashed the gates of hell by provoking Nazi Germany. In the mid 1990s Raeto West analysed variant revisionist theories and the holocaust promotion industry as an integral part of his site about humanism, bad science and common myths.(NB 27/12/2009: Raeto West's site went offline over 8 years ago and has since joined the white-supremacist BNP, a rather sad end for a disciple of Bertrand Russell.) Another sceptical analysis of interest is New Zealand historian's Joel S. A. Hayward's thesis "An Historical Enquiry into the Development and Significance of Holocaust Revisionism", which the author had to withdraw under enormous pressure. Indeed the latter has since converted to Islam and been appointed Director of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies.

    However, a thorough revision of the received wisdom on the Second World War would go much further. Some revisionist historians fall into the trap of viewing German National Socialism and Anglo-American corporatism as competing ideologies. So within the myth of the uniqueness of Nazi crimes lies the myth of British and American appeasement of Hitler's Germany. Voluminous evidence suggests that British, American and Dutch big business did not appease Nazi Germany at all, but positively encouraged it, bankrolling the German National Socialist Workers Party and continuing production in their subsidiaries right through WW2. The collaboration of many leading Zionists such as Ben Gurion with the Nazi régime and Hermann Göring's professed sympathies with the cause of the Jewish homeland cannot go unnoticed. Neither can we ignore the blatant fact that the Second World War saw the invasion and humiliation of France, the end of the bankrupt British Empire controlled centrally from London, massive destruction, murder and famine in much of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the ultimate defeat and destruction of the US's two main technological rivals, Germany and Japan. Indeed we may even consider if the division of Germany and the erection of the Iron Curtain served the long-term interests of the United States. West Germany bounded by hostile states to the east and integrated in an economic union with its other European neighbours, a military Alliance with the US and dependent on US aid and inward investment, would soon prove a loyal partner and a powerhouse of the post-war boom. The US bailed out Western Europe only after overseeing its destruction.

    It may have rationally been in the geopolitical interests of the German government in 1938 to recapture territories lost in the 1918 Treaty of Versailles and to seek the economic domination of Eastern Europe as well as the collaboration of the Low Countries and accommodation with France, whose imperial interests conflicted with the US and British Empires. All-out war with the Soviet Union and Great Britain, which would inevitably draw the US into the fray, would have been highly inadvisable. Indeed in August 1940 Germany sought peace with Churchill's Britain on this basis. When the United States entered the war in December 1941 and especially after the fall of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in February 1943, the Third Reich was doomed. As the Allies landed in Southern Italy in August of the same year, the defeat of the Axis powers was a foregone conclusion. Yet the worst crimes against humanity attributed to the Nazi regime reached their gernocidal climax between mid 1942 and late 1944, while Hitler's overstretched armed forces were battling to defend strategic positions on all fronts. By January 1945 all concentration camps in modern Poland, responsible for the lion share of systematic industrial killing, had been liberated. Would the United States be so dominant today if a united and peaceful Europe counterbalanced its hegemony?

    We may also debate whether Nazism, Fascism or Francoism were unique or merely localised means of ensuring the supremacy of corporate and state power. It may seem ironic that many militant anti-Fascists favour the suppression of free speech and restriction of democratic rights to stop the re-emergence of alleged fascists. However, who defines fascism? Should we not talk instead of authoritarianism? Not only did many Nazi collaborators adapt very quickly to the New World Order under US hegemony, but many population control techniques pioneered under the Nazi régime were adopted and remodelled by big business, especially in the advertising and public relations industries. Joseph Goebbels based his WW2 information campaign on British WW1 propaganda. According to Goebbels, Germany didn't invade the Sudetenland, it liberated ethnic Germans persecuted by bloodthirsty Slavic nationalists and it didn't invade the Soviet Union, but liberated Ukrainians from Bolshevik tyranny. By the same token we could claim, Britain didn't conquer and exploit the Indian Subcontinent and half of Africa, but spread civilisation and democracy.

    Until Norman Finkelstein, son of survivors of the Treblinka and Majdenek concentration camps, wrote A Nation on Trial and The Holocaust Industry, few analysts considered one truism: The more the mainstream media and entertainment industry push the orthodox version of the Nazi holocaust, the more a radical fringe will disbelieve any of their claims and harbour a growing sense of Judaeophobia. Israel's oppression of Palestinians makes an Anti-Jewish backlash almost inevitable. The purported uniqueness of Jewish suffering explains the hackneyed phrase "racism and Anti-Semitism". Surely, anti-Semitism should apply to prejudice against all Semites and Israel would thus be labelled an anti-Semitic régime. But why not specify Serbophobia, Germanophobia, Russophobia etc.? Why is prejudice against Jews different?

    It comes as some comfort that a handful of Jewish intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Israel Shahak have attempted to answer this thorny question. Judeaophobia stems not from irrational beliefs in the racial inferiority or superiority of Jews, but rather from resentment against Jewish power and their in-group loyalty. Would a German critic of Nazi abuse of power be called a self-hating German? But Jewish critics of Zionism are frequently denounced as self-hating Jews. Would it be too radical to describe Nazism as German Zionism?

    It thus follows that rational debate protects the true victims and exposes hoaxers separating fact from fiction, while exaggerated claims trigger exaggerated counter-claims, hence the Holocaust lobby's insistence that there are no numbers between 0 and six million. Challenging the capitalised Holocaust â„¢ is tantamount to heresy. Instead some of the wilder claims will be inconspicuously dropped, while revisionist historians continue to be ritually condemned. At stake are not the genuine victims of Nazi terror, but the credibility of war propaganda.

    Twenty five years after the Vietnam War the chief architects of US atrocities such My-Lai denier Wesley Clark and Iraqi Highway Massacre Denier General Barry McCaffrey (100,000 - 250,000 dead) are not only walking free, but are advising the current US régime on its new military endeavours.

    The solution to this dilemma is simple: free speech and fearless open debate. Only then will we know who is lying. I for one will reserve my utter condemnation both for all perpetrators of verifiable atrocities and for all those who manipulate war propaganda for their own purposes. You have lost the argument from the outset, if you refuse to debate an issue, whether it is the big bang theory, global warming, the AIDS=HIV hypothesis or the veracity of alleged atrocities.

    Readers are free to make their own minds up. Most orthodox Nazi Holocaust and anti-revisionist information can be accessed from the Nizkor site, but if you're in any doubt take the time to read what dissidents say on the matter.

    Why the Shoah Revisionists are Wrong

    David Irving once claimed that it's hard to prove a negative, but the same controversial historian has freely admitted voluminous hard evidence of Nazi crimes. The fact that many European governments are actively pursuing and jailing prominent holocaust deniers should ring alarm bells. One may reasonably wonder who's next on the verboten list. 9/11 revisionists, Balkan war revisionists, Saddam Hussein sympathisers, opponents of US, UK and Israeli military operations in the Middle East? So are holocaust revisionists just an easy target or do they actually have a point? With the media beating the drums of war in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it is essential for us to maintain the freedom to challenge the extreme bias and sometimes pure fabrications of our main media outlets. However, by focusing narrowly on the scale of crimes committed by an authoritarian regime over half a century ago, holocaust revisionists risk serving as useful idiots ready to perish in jail purportedly to save the honour of the German people or combat Zionism in the name of Palestine. Were they to focus instead on disinformation about recent events, we might stand a better chance of safeguarding freedom of inquiry in order to guard against the very totalitarian bellicosity that has traditionally presaged mass murder.

    The Real Deniers

    Wesley Clark General Wesley Clark denied US culpability for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. 30 years later he defended NATO air strikes over the Balkans Lord George Robertson Lord George Robertson denied the widely documented after-effects and deliberate use of depleted uranium both in Iraq and the Balkans. Currently NATO's Secretary General. He also once referred to Serbs as Siberians.
    Henry Kissinger Henry Kissinger denied his role in the Vietnam War, 1968-72 bombing of Cambodia, Pinochet's Chilean coup d'état, the 1975-79 massacre in East Timor among other crimes Ariel Sharon Ariel Sharon denied Israeli guilt for the Sabra and Shatila massacre although at the time he was only 200 metres away from the scene. Currently Israeli Prime Minister responsible for human rights in the West Bank and Gaza

    If denial of verifiable crimes against humanity is a problem, it should concern us most when the mainstream media denies or downplays atrocities, while dissidents upholding the veracity of such events, are silenced, sidelined or ridiculed. Challenges to official claims should always act as a stimulus for empirical research.

    The British Foreign Office has a long history of denial, from its scorched earth policy and concentration camps in the Boer War to the Bengali Famine, bombing of Kenyan Mau Mau freedom fighters, arming of Indonesia while it presided over the slaughter and starvation of as many as 200,000 East Timorese between 1975 and 1979, its support for Turkey and Israel, the media's almost total silence over the massacre of 250,000 retreating Iraqi troops and guest workers fleeing Kuwait after the US and other Allied forces reclaimed the territory for the Kuwaiti royal family and oil multinationals. It took a book by revisionist historian David Irving for the Allies to admit (and subsequently downplay) the scale of the wanton slaughter of civilians during airstrikes over Dresden, while other equally ferocious bombing missions over Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Pforzheim are mere historical footnotes. The post-war famine with as many as 2 million deaths in occupied Germany on top of tens of thousands of German fatalities in Allied and Soviet post-war rehabilitation camps are routinely dismissed as regrettable legacies of Nazism.

    When a major newspaper claims 250,000 died in the Vietnam War, how many readers write to complain that the figure excludes Vietnamese victims? Similarly figures for Vietnamese fatalities may vary from 1 million to 3 million. Should we not accuse those who insist on the lower figure of being deniers eager to resume napalming over North Vietnam? In his epic Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky distinguishes worthy from unworthy victims. Victims of Pol Pot's massacre between 1975 and 1979 are worthy victims because the US benefited from anti-Communist propaganda that could overshadow its own crimes in the region (US bombing of Cambodia between 1968 and 1975 led to 500,000 to a million deaths), while victims of the East Timor tragedy are unworthy because the US was arming their oppressors. However, subsequent US support for the Khmer Rouge and sanctions against Cambodia after the 1979 Vietnamese invasion, leading to more starvation, make it hard to give reliable statistics for deaths attributable to Pol Pot's government when the US did not back it. The death toll varies from 250,000 to 2.5 million, though most starved. Likewise official anti-Saddam propaganda now includes the Iraqi airforce's 1988 aerial gassing of 5000 Kurds. However, they forget to mention that at the time the Iraqi régime was armed by the US and its allies and deployed US-made chemical weapons. Similar attacks against Kurds by the Turkish armed forces have gone unpunished.

    Another topical atrocity was the 1994 Rwandan civil war. The Western media unanimously reported marauding Hutus killing their Tutsi cousins with machetes. In one respect this is much a more serious allegation than those levelled against Germans during WW2. In 1945 most ordinary Germans knew little of events either in concentration camps or on the Eastern Front. Indeed much of what they did know they had learned through German-language Allied broadcasts, rumours and post-war propaganda. Whether hundreds of thousands perished in mass gas chambers or not, most ordinary Germans did not rampage the streets wielding machetes against Jewish neighbours (The total death toll of Kristalnacht was around 90). Lamentably an awful lot of dead bodies laid strewn all over Rwanda by the time Western reporters could return and formerly exiled Rwandan Patriotic Front soldiers had recaptured the capital Kigali. Based on verifiable evidence it is much harder to refute the Rwandan massacre than mass gas chambers in Nazi-occupied Poland. However, many thoughtful observers have missed two critical and related factors: economics and environment. What was billed as a systematic genocide was in fact a food riot that quickly turned into a collective frenzy of internecine slaughter.

    Journalists and foreign Africanists are unanimous that the West failed to take pre-emptive action against the Rwandan genocide, but too many assume such action need be military. Unconditional economic aid to ensure Rwanda could be self-sufficient in essential foods, writing off the country's debt, the provision of vital health and transport infrastructure etc. would have done much more to help Rwandans overcome their past internecine conflicts than any so-called peace-keeping mission. Also see Michel Chossudovsky's article on the IMF and Rwandan Holocaust

    Sanitised Genocides and Ethnic Cleansing

    Genocide means the extermination of a people with a distinct cultural heritage either by ruthless colonial expansion or by systematic slaughter. Whether a given massacre qualifies for this term depends largely on its scale and ethnic specificity. By contrast the newly coined term ethnic cleansing means systematic deportation or forced cultural assimilation. Ethnicity begs definition, but usually implies a deep-rooted cultural identity passed through successive generations of a close-knit community. Historically ethnic groups acquire uniform physiognomic traits through many generations of interbreeding. Language, religion, diet, dress code, sexual morality and other customs are cultural characteristics linked to one's ethnic identity. Absolute genocides are thankfully relatively rare events, although the rapid depopulation that followed European colonisation of the Americas, Africa and Australasia succeeded in eradicating indigenous civilisation and annihilating vast swathes of their peoples through war, disease and starvation. At the time of the great European conquests very little prime agricultural land was virgin territory. Who would believe native Australians only inhabited the outback before Dutch and predominantly British colonisation? The Boer War saw the almost complete extermination of the Khoi-Khoi (aka Hottentot) people of the Northern Cape as a result of the British scorched earth policy. Even the world's first war sold on humanitarian grounds, the 1898-99 Spanish-American WAR over the Philippines ended in a brutal massacre.

    Most countries in the New World were founded on genocidal colonisation followed by systematic ethnic cleansing. In the first fifteen years of Belgian colonial rule of the Congo under King Leopold the rubber trade's ruthless exploitation of land and inhabitants alike caused the country's population to fall from around 20 million to just 9 million, yet another tragic tale erased from mainstream history books.

    The Hidden Democide

    Sadly but patently, abject poverty, malnutrition, child labour, unreported internecine and gang warfare are rife. Unedited video footage of armed gangs severing the limbs of a nine-year old boy because he fought for a rival gang intent on control of diamonds is considered unfit for public consumption, while Hollywood churns out movie after movie replete with gratuitous fictional violence. Millions of dollars are spent to simulate terror, while thousands of real pictures of US-perpetrated or funded warfare across the globe would suffice to horrify all but the most callous individuals. Very different standards are set for the relative importance of deaths. Quality newspapers targeted at intellectual readers devote just a few paragraphs to a WHO report estimating that 15 million children die every year from easily preventable diseases on top of 7 million child deaths due to malnutrition, while atrocities that can be blamed on an official enemy are widely publicised. When was the last time we read sensational headlines about real horrors, of which our rulers are guilty?

    Headlines you won't read in Murdoch's Press

    Online Sun Iraqi Child

    Exclusive: UK Sanctions Kill 500,000 Iraqi Kids

    Oil-hungry control freaks want these kids to die, so evil multinationals can get their greedy hands on the guey black stuff. Sex-crazed Bill Clinton and ballot rigger Blair deny their hideous crimes, but the Sun reveals the horrible truth. Saddam Hussein is their best friend and ten years ago agreed to be Global Demon Number One as long as he could keep his marble palaces. As Blair gears up for his re-election campaign, Iraqi children are dying of leukaemia thanks to depleted uranium strewn over their land by US and UK bombers.

    Online Sun Emaciated Children Y2K

    Shock Horror! 12,000 children starved yesterday

    12,000 kids died yesterday because their mums and dads could not make ends meet without work, fertile land or a social safety net to fall back on. Tony Blair said Third World countries need a competitive labour market and more deregulation.

    That's right more children starve either due to undernourishment or severe malnutrition every day than NATO claimed the Yugoslavs killed during the Kosovo war. Few of us would be surprised to read "Rock Star Kills Fiancé" or "Serbs Murder More Albanian Kids", "Internet Paedophiles on the Rampage", "Germans Want To Ban British Pint", "Blair Slams Media for Invasion of Privacy", "Don't Miss Our Pics of Prince Eddie at Nudist Camp" etc.

    As the world's population passes the psychological 6 billion barrier, life expectancy in much of Sub-Saharan Africa is falling in the age of computers, mobile phones, suburban off-road cars and supermarkets packed with goodies, 2 billion suffer from malnutrition.

    Should we Fear Hate Speech?

    The short answer is no, provided we retain the right to challenge it. Some propaganda can be very hateful and even incite frenzies of xenophobia, especially if it comes from the mainstream and builds on generations of subtle indoctrination. Sometimes hatred can be engineered gradually over a few years as in the case of Serbs.

    If the Sun could headline "Gotcha!" when the Royal Navy needlessy sank the General Belgrano killing 400 Argentinian sailors in 1982 or condones the bombing of some of the world's poorest in Iraq, the Balkans and now Afghanistan, surely we need not fear irrational outbursts from fringe propagandists. The real danger is mainstream hate speech legitimised by our government and establishment intellectuals. More important who defines hate speech? Is hate speech language that can incite violent attacks or is it propaganda that justifies state terrorism? Increasingly hate speech is a byword for unacceptable opinions and unmentionable controversies.

    As Noam Chomsky said in defence of his decision to write a foreword in favour of the free speech of French holocaust revisionist Faurisson "It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers".

    The restriction of free speech has always benefited those who control the means of mass communication. No precedents exist for laws passed to ban proven lies, but plenty for laws crafted to stifle debate on issues that may expose the duplicity of the establishment or challenge the founding myths of the ruling class.

    Free Speech Links

    1) Authoritative estimates place England (and after 1707 Great Britain) a close second in the slave trade.