Capitalism: privately owned money and businesses; pursuing and generating money by any means.
Right wing: the pursuit of money by the richest people over the quality of human life for normal people.
Left wing; the pursuit of a good quality of life for all by evenly distributing money so everyone can afford to live.
I understand that not everyone gets politics and I imagine that those who don’t understand feel left out by the language used by politicians and the newsreaders. If only there was a comprehensive, easy to understand run down – outline – of how it all works? That’s what I’m trying to write here.
Capitalism isn’t as scary a word as it sounds. It is the financial system of how we trade goods. It involves concentrating on individual people and businesses. This might sound familiar – businesses produce goods which are sold, the money from sales is used to pay wages to staff, running costs, tax and profit to the owners. Sounds simple?
What if I told you how it all began? About how a period now known as the Victorian Industrial Revolution saw the invention of steam powered machinery which helped to mass produce products which could be transported all over the country with the invention of the then new steam trains. This was an important period which changed the rules of industry forever. Sounds great doesn’t it? What if I told you that all this new generated wealth and prosperity came off the back of the first ever zero hours working conditions, where poor Victorian workers were housed in small over crowed houses in factory towns, where they lived in disease ridden squalor, where they were paid a pittance that wasn’t enough to feed their families, where children were forced to work, where if there wasn’t any work they didn’t work and they didn’t get paid. Where the business owners kept the vast majority of money from sales.
‘It’s all over now – we don’t treat workers like that any more.’ Don’t we?
Victorian authors Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell were just some of the writers who raised awareness about the horrifying accounts of human exploitation; writing novels and stories were the social media equivalent of campaigning for human rights. Their novels’ *Hard Times https://librivox.org/hard-times-by-charles-dickens/ and *Mary Barton https://librivox.org/mary-barton-by-elizabeth-cleghorn-gaskell/ give a good account of typical life in the factories.
Over a period of time these awful practices were stopped in this country and any workers who hadn’t died managed to a get a fairer deal – not necessarily a shit hot deal but something that helped and was less barbaric.
At least that doesn’t happen any more.’ Doesn’t it? What if I told you that the low wages and zero hours contracts for the production of goods for our country was simply moved to other countries? That the death and squalor was moved from our British doorstep to countries like Cambodia, China and *looks in label of t-shirt I am wearing* Bangladesh. And that their desperate plight is actually partly our fault through allowing foreign factory owners to pay such low wages.
But it’s OK because once a year we listen to the grave voices of television presenters who show us videos of these poor people suffering. The same scenes that would have greeted richer people in the Victorian days of starvation and death, but instead of campaigning for an end to slave wages we just squeeze the pus from our capitalist spot and donate what we can afford to a charity and get back to making a cup of tea or arguing who hasn’t done the washing up. It is then gone from our minds and it’s life as usual for us. Nothing changes – we never tackle the root problem of kids dying down mineshafts while they search for bits of gold to make our smartphones. Out of sight out of mind.
‘Why don’t we just pay the people who are working in those factories more money and make sure they have the same conditions over here?’ Yeah why don’t we?
Because what if I told you that because we exploited the people in other countries that it is more difficult to pay them a fair wage because the factory owners don’t have to abide by British law and change their ways, and that it would reduce the millions in profit that companies make.
‘Well that’s the way it is.’ Yep, starvation, suffering and death, just the way it is, just as long as it’s not where we can see it.
‘Where else do you suggest we buy our clothes etc.’ I have no idea – I don’t have the answer to that. I – the British equivalence of poor – also am responsible for taking part in this, for having not known until I was older how all these pieces of history and media fit together, until I studied and began to use my brain to think. I’d like to take a leaf though, from campaigners throughout history to try and raise awareness of the corrupt hidden structure which supports our thoughtless capitalist lifestyles. I want to use my voice before Theresa May decides to censor people who tell the truth. I wanted to write this in a language which avoids political jargon (complicated language) – complicated language which is used deliberately to stop everyone from understanding because political language acts like an invisibility cloak to help politicians – May in particular – carry on in her pursuit of profit over people.
The best way to understand the news from the TV and big newspapers is ask yourself ‘who is making money out of these terrible things happening around the world?’ ‘Who is making money from the story?’ Because everything is about making money.
‘Money can’t be made from war, surely?’ Yes it can. Here in the UK guns or arms as they are otherwise known are made here and are sold to countries like Saudi Arabia, which are used in wars like Syria. Perhaps if we stopped making weapons and selling them to foreign countries there would be fewer wars and innocent civilians wouldn’t have to run from their homes to find safety. I don’t think it would stop wars, but it would sure as hell slow them down and we could feel better knowing our country has done something to help towards a more peaceful world. But obviously the Conservative government don’t want that because all they care about is the money made from selling them. And it’s not like you can use weapons for anything other than the intention to kill. Again newsreaders use a very serious/sad tone when they report about a war, as if our country has nothing to do with it, as if Theresa May has had nothing to do with it. She voted for wars.
The news channels reporting on these terrible, serious wars are actually owned by Conservative supporters. So just to recap, Theresa May our Prime Minister voted for wars, her Conservative buddies who own the BBC, Sky TV, the Sun etc report on it as if they believe the war is terrible and you the reader/watcher think oh my goodness why won’t someone do something about it. You can do something about it by voting for a party that doesn’t support war and who will stop selling warfare – weapons – to foreign countries. You can vote for a party who will ensure fair wages for all, who can begin one day to deal with our involvement in overseas poverty. When I was at secondary school the Third World was called the Developing World which left me wondering why it has never developed? It’s because with Capitalism, someone always has to be poor and taken advantage of for so called progress to take place.
What exactly is progress? Progress is to achieve a better state than before, but this is misleading because this is not progress for everyone, just those who were born in countries like ours and even by a measure of our own standards our lives haven’t actually become any easier. Going back to the Industrial Revolution, there was the promise that labour saving machinery would give us more time to do what we wanted, but instead we have filled our time with MORE work. Our brains have to process more complex information and an additional list of things to achieve in a day and are left with feeling worthless when they can’t keep up with others which some people find difficult to process – this has lead to an increase in mental health problems. So when people say mental health is made up, it’s something that has become an issue because of the increased burden of information overload. Our bodies don’t work so hard any more because of labour saving machinery, but our brains are worked so much harder. So in a nutshell the more we work towards progress, the more we will fill our time with the next lot of work which is also labelled progress, therefore never actually getting to spend more time with our families or looking after our bodies or planet.
All political leaders are not the same this time around – there is a real option for peace on the 8th June. It might not happen again so make the most of your ability to vote and vote for Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labour Party.
‘But Labour voted for Iraq – Blair and Brown made some awful choices.’ That’s correct they did. But Corbyn gives a shit, he cares about human lives – he is not remotely like Blair or Brown. Imagine you eat at a cafe and they mess up your favourite meal time and time again. Eventually you won’t go there any more because the food is crap. Imagine everyone stops going there because they have had the same experience, but then it is taken over by new management who revamps the menu by introducing new options and puts some old favourites back on the list. Would you still not give it a try just because the last two owners fudged it up? Corbyn is the new management, he has revamped the menu to reflect what ordinary people want and need; he isn’t just catering to the rich people.
Conservatives: just cares about money and not people.
Labour: Cares about people.
*Audio book links so you don’t need to read them.