*Update 28 June 2017*: This handy guide nicely debunks capitalist myths: ‘Lies That Capitalists Tell Us‘.
Poor-hating bigotry peddled by tabloids
Everything below I have mentioned repeatedly on this blog and/or my Facebook account. I thought it was time for me to compile the items as a handy resource, having recently been reminded of the distressing reality that many people have no understanding at all of what is going on. The incident that triggered this was one of those pointless Facebook exchanges where I was confronted by the poor-hating bigotry of those who have completely swallowed the scapegoating propaganda of the far-right tabloids and project their poisonous vision onto all they see, impervious to evidence.
Anecdotes better? Persecution of asylum seekers.
In circumstances like that, the facts are useless, and I would probably have done better to relate the details of my own direct experiences (what it is really like to be on benefits) and those of people I have met – such as asylum seekers fleeing horrific persecution (in lands sucked dry by our multinationals) and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, only to face abuse and persecution in this sceptred isle, while living on a pittance.
Nonetheless, facts are facts, and they need to be widely disseminated. If people chance on them by themselves rather than being confronted by them in mid-rant, perhaps they stand a chance of registering. (I wish they were taught in schools, but our present neoliberal overlords would never allow that!)
Here’s the toolkit!
A) Know thine enemy: what is neoliberalism?
What is destroying people’s lives and the environment on which we all depend has various names.
I like Bruce K. Alexander’s “hypercapitalism”, but “neoliberalism” is perhaps the term in commonest use.
Here’s a nice summary of the “philosophy” we are up against. Click on the link and scroll down the page to read the five points. Also see what is described as “The London Orthodoxy Approach” on the Common Weal website.
and if you encounter those who deny neoliberlism’s very existence, then refer them to this: ‘Yes, neoliberalism is a thing. Don’t let economists tell you otherwise‘.
B) Myth #1: “Job-creators need tax breaks”.
This nails it! I wish we could force every politician and editor of mainstream media outlets to watch Nick Hanauer’s myth-busting talk in the video below. They have been found out!
And here’s a brilliant video on the corrupting effects of wealth on morality:
C) Myth #2: Things have got better and trickle-down works
In fact we have a far more unequal society now than we did a couple of decades ago. The super-rich are pulling way ahead and the rest of us are getting worse off. The videos below apply consecutively to the USA and UK but much the same can be seen in other developed countries. Here’s a great new site providing simple ‘posters’ about the causes and effects of inequality, and here’s what Oxfam says: ‘Inequality has run so out of control, that the 85 richest people on the planet own the wealth of half the world’s population’.
And these are the effects of such inequality. Click on the image below for a treasure trove of striking data.
D) Myth #3: There is a major problem with multi-generational wilful worklessness and benefits-scrounging
Here’s the truth about benefit fraud, and many of the popular myths about “benefits scroungers” are debunked in the article below. Click on the image below to read it.
“And curiously, the right-wing press will have you believe that it is benefit ‘scroungers’ that cause the rest of society to suffer. A TUC survey carried out in 2012 found that on average people thought that 41% of the entire welfare budget went towards the unemployed. The actual figure? It’s 3%. Additionally, the average figure people put for fraudulently claimed benefits was 27%. The real figure is 0.3%. But don’t let truth and facts get in the way of policy.”
So who are the real scroungers? Geroge Monbiot nails it in this Guardian article: ‘This cash for grouse scandal shows how Britain has become a plutocrats’ paradise‘.
E) Myth #4: Companies that issue shares are subject to market discipline and are the most efficient…
Click on the image below to watch a great video in which David Erdal shows that, in fact, employee-owned companies are generally better for society in every way! (You will be taken to another post on this blog where you will also have the option to read a summary of his talk.)
F) Myth #5: Choice is a good thing – the more the better!
I, for one, do not want to waste my valuable time and energy making essentially meaningless choices between often mediocre products. I want a good cup of coffee, a good local school, a good public transport system, and I do not want to have to compare and choose.
G) Swiss army knives to add to your toolkit!
Swiss army knife #1
Here’s a brilliant essay summarising what is wrong and the reason for scapegoating the disempowered: Inequality, Ideology and Independence.
Swiss army knife #2
This short video will give you a great overview of what is wrong with the neoliberal system:
Swiss army knife #3
Here’s my review of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism and here’s a summary of it. It’s a great book demolishing 23 myths propagated by ‘free-market’ enthusiasts. While it still advocates economic growth, it defeats pretty much all the other destructive dogma pushed by neoliberals. Please read it.
Swiss army knife #4
Here’s a great essay by Jane Jones: The War on the Commonweal: Making a Stand in 2014.
Lastly, a word about Scottish independence…
All the mainstream UK parties are clearly hell-bent on pursuing a destructive neoliberal course, tangled inextricably with the USA and the massively powerful military-industrial complex (warned against by Eisenhower). Here in Scotland we have a fantastic opportunity to break away from this and realise the visions espoused by such inspiring movements as:
Please visit their websites and see what could be! I shall certainly be voting for independence on 18 September 2014. We have nothing to lose (except the horrors of ongoing neoliberalism) and everything to gain!
And finally… here’s Resurgence magazine’s inspiring site, if you want to know what an entire world without neoliberalism could be like and how we might get there!