“Fuck it, let’s all go on strike!” part 2

In contrast to current social security measures, a CBI [Citizens Basic Income] does not explicitly link income provision with work. In this sense it can be regarded as an emancipatory measure in that it serves to free individuals from the economic necessity of toil and provides the basis to support a range of welfare enhancing activity undertaken outwith the confines of market based exchanges. A CBI is not merely an alternative to existing social security provision but rather a philosophy aimed at enhancing individual freedom and promoting social justice. In essence providing the basis for securing ‘real freedom for all’

Alisa McKay – Arguing for a Citizens Basic Income in a New Scotland (via Pat Kane)

“Fuck it, let’s all go on strike!”

If we could all go on strike and honestly disavow all interest in what our neighbour is doing we might get a new lease on life. We might learn to do without telephones and radios and newspapers, without machines of any kind, without factories, without mills, without mines, without explosives, without battleships, without politicians, without lawyers, without canned goods, without gadgets, without razor blades even or cellophane or cigarettes or money. This is a pipe dream, I know. People only go on strike for better working conditions, better wages, better opportunities to become something other than they are.

Henry Miller- The Colossus of Maroussi

On Calais and fear of “The Swarm”

The Daily Mail 1938 and 2015

In a week where our Prime Minister decided to respond to the brutal reality of Calais by chipping in with some dehumanising blether of his own, Patrick Harvie’s article in The National was like a splash of cool water on the face:

It’s also all too common that this issue is presented not as a problem for the people involved – the people whose lives are at risk – but rather as a problem for us. The simple truth which should underpin our response to this crisis is that to provide safety and security to those who need it is a privilege, not a burden. We’re the lucky ones – the ones who are asked for help, not the ones making unsafe, desperate journeys to ask for it. It’s those who flee who bear the burden, and there but for fortune any of us might go.

I find it impossible to accept that a continent of over 500 million people cannot find a way to share this responsibility, and provide adequate safety for the basic wellbeing of desperate people, while asylum claims and immigration applications are properly and respectfully dealt with.

Still, while Patrick’s response got the balance right between challenging some of the shit that gets talked about immigration and appealing to people on gut level, its argument also brought me face to face with some of the underlying problems we face when making such arguments.

fuckThe difficulty here is that a lot of people here don’t feel like they have the benefit of the security and privilege of living in a rich country, and that some others do but can’t imagine that this can be extended to others without it being taken away from them in the process.

It’s a tribute to how much ground has been lost that the idea of things getting better for most of us has been made to look like a lunatic plot, fit only for posh students and straggling hippies.

You see this attitude again and again in the comments for the Scottish Green Party‘s Facebook post on this subject. Responses to a comment about how building houses might provide both a solution to the housing crisis and provide jobs in the construction industry vary from the drearily realistic (“It’s not that easy!”, which here seems to mean “It must be impossible!”) to the bewilderingly outraged (“We need more houses for our own people!”, “For f***ks sake what do you think the construction is, they would not be allowed on site without the proper training and tickets, who is going to pay and provide that?”).

This is how we are told the world works now: if such a thing as society exists, it happens to other people.

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